The President expressed his belief in Ghana’s manifest destiny and in the capacity of Ghanaians to construct a new, prosperous Ghanaian civilisation that will reflect the progressive values and culture that have defined the Ghanaian people through the ages.
Launching a business ideas competition, dubbed the ‘Presidential Pitch’, aimed at realising government’s ambition of helping to unleash an entrepreneurial revolution in the country, he said: “This is the first time in the country’s history that a deliberate, systematic and integrated policy has been instituted to support young businesses.”
He noted that the country has not done so well incubating business ideas and developing them into global giants, even though there are lots of enterprising, creative and innovative youth seeking opportunity.
As a result, the President said, his government is determined to buck the trend, adding that, “A journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with the first step. We are taking the first steps.”
The business ideas being presented at the Presidential Pitch, he stressed, must exhibit four characteristics, i.e. they must be feasible, innovative, scalable and impactful.
With some 2,000 applications received, 20 proposals were selected at the end of the process, with the 20 successful applicants given mentors and attached to various businesses, and with the others stationed at the Ministry of Business Development’s incubator hubs.
“At the end of the competition, the top 10 winners received support from government, to the tune of GH¢50,000 each. It is my expectation that the 10 beneficiary companies should help create jobs and, at least, employ three people each,” the President said.
President Akufo-Addo added, “Through periodic updates from the ministry’s monitoring and evaluation systems, I am going to take personal interest in the way the beneficiary companies are run, as the ministry helps nurture them into prominence.”
He noted that in addition to the ‘Presidential Pitch’, government launched a National Entrepreneurship and Innovations Plan (NEIP) with an initial start-up capital of $10 million to support young entrepreneurs start their businesses.
“Again, through the NEIP, 500 young men and women across the country will receive funding to help expand their businesses. This will be the first time, in recent times, that a deliberate, systematic, integrated national policy has been instituted to support early stage startups and small businesses,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo reiterated the commitment of his government to create in Ghana the most business-friendly environment in Africa, where businesses flourish, and create jobs.
“That is why government has put in place measures intended to reduce the cost of doing business and improve the business environment. Our actions have resulted in the growing stability of the macro-economy, reduction in inflation, reduction in utility tariffs, and an abolition of nuisance taxes, whose aim is to shift the focus of the economy from taxation to production,” he added.
All these measures, he added, are being undertaken to stimulate enterprise activity and growth in the country.
President Akufo-Addo stated that, “In you, the contestants I have met today, the future of the Ghanaian private sector is extremely promising,” and applauded each of the contestants warmly on their products and presentations.
Minister advises entrepreneurs
The Minister for Business Development, Dr Ibrahim Mohammed Awal, admonished the young entrepreneurs not to give up at the slightest challenge they are confronted with.
“When your business flops, pick up the pieces and continue; no businessman has achieved success by single flight; they tried 10 times to 100 times before making a headway; so make perseverance you bedfellow,” the Minister said.
Dr Awal further urged the young businessmen and women to be guided by humility and discipline when they succeed.
“Dream big and act big; you cannot dream big and be in your small corner,” he urged them.
The Minister implored the young entrepreneurs, as well as Ghanaian businesses to “live the Nana Akufo-Addo dream, which focuses on giving each and every Ghanaian the resources to grow and live well”.
Ten young, budding entrepreneurs received a total of GH¢370,000 under government’s business support initiative – the ‘Presidential Pitch for Young Entrepreneurs’ – established by the Ministry of Business Development.
The funding is to afford the entrepreneurs have what it takes to expand their businesses and create jobs.
Under the theme ‘Creating an Entrepreneurial Climate to Support Young Businesses’, the 10, aged between 19 and 32, took turns to pitch their business ideas, most of which are already in operation, before President Nana Akufo-Addo in Accra on Monday 25th of June, 2018.
Overall winner gets extra GH¢25,000 from Nana Addo
Ms Vanessa Aisha Limann, 19, from the Sissala West District in the Upper West Region, stole the show, emerging winner of the contest when she pitched her business idea.
The President announced an extra GH¢25,000 for Ms Limann, who is into agro-processing and transforms local maize, millet and wheat into cereals for breakfast.
Ms Limann, a senior high school graduate, was later presented with her prize of GH¢50,000.
The first runner-up, Abdulsalam Mohammed, aged 31, received GH¢45,000 to support his home health service while both second and third runner-up startups received GH¢40,000 each.
7 Startups receive GH¢210,000
Seven out of the 10 startups received GH¢30,000 each to help expand their businesses.
These comprised Kwasi Otchere, 27, and Ms Emi-Beth Quatson, 31, both of whom pitched ideas in agribusiness; Aicon Andah, 28, pitched an idea in technology; Ms Zeenatu Suglo Adams, 30, agro-processing; Nana Newman, 29, pitched an idea in agriculture; and Joelle Eyeson, 31, who made a presentation in construction of low-cost houses.